Guest Blog by Chris Scott, Director of Business Development, Arch. Arch is now SUSE Connect Partner, a SUSE program that gives customers easy and dependable access to a broad set of software and services that support SAP solutions from the SUSE partner ecosystem
As organisations strive to deliver digital transformation through improved user experiences and processes, the need arises to address each and every user touch-point.
SAP-generated emails are poor. They typically consist of ‘flat’ text driven from static text elements. The content isn’t engaging, and often it is not informative. Traditionally, getting well-formatted SAP data inside an email has been difficult enough for people not to bother; instead we are provided with a hyperlink or an attachment. Even now, SAP document output still relies on attached PDF. Years after web-based software has provided rich emails for order confirmations, it is madness that the standard SAP ERP solutions create email output that is simply not fit for purpose. SAP Workflow notifications do support HTML content, but it is so difficult to maintain that most organisations don’t progress beyond the simplest of branding.
Part of the problem is that email isn’t sexy. In today’s world we expect app notifications on our mobile devices, and of course this makes a lot of sense for many business processes. Equally, however, for many process scenarios, email remains a critical user touch-point, an important part of your multi-channel communication strategy. Managing that communication, in terms of messaging, branding and user-experience can help enable new process improvements. And that’s what your digital transformation strategy should be all about.
We see organisations deploy fantastic new Fiori apps, but link them to clunky, workflow-driven business processes. Some users may be connected to their Fiori LaunchPad continuously, such that it makes sense to deliver notifications through the LaunchPad. Others will connect more sporadically, driven by an email notification to enact the next process step. The email is the initial user touch-point: In a sense, the email front-ends the Fiori app. So of course it is hugely important to provide the same quality of experience across both the app and the email.
The solution is Floe, the SAP e-mail generator from Arch.
Floe enables you to manage e-mail templates within your SAP system. With Floe you can upload HTML email templates defined using a host of free tools (like MailChimp) and then add SAP data variables into the email body.
In addition, you can build dynamic content for your emails, such that the email template will be generated at run-time using building blocks, which could be common sections, or repeating sections. You can add business logic to dynamically include or exclude different content, in order to tailor the email to each individual recipient.
With Floe you control the email content using simple user-exits. In this way you can define business logic to determine recipients, images, and attachments, change the subject line and determine the language and content of the email: You provide the rules, and Floe generates the final email based on your template, your data and your business logic.
Floe is delivered as an ABAP Add-on: It installs directly on your SAP ABAP stack or S/4 HANA system. It extends the SAP IMG so that all the configuration and development takes place through SAPGUI. Floe is a developer tool, but no training is required: There is an easy configuration and development guide available through the Arch Support Site, with worked examples.
Floe uses the normal SAP Business Communication Service to physically send emails from the SAP system, via your SMTP server.
Floe can be used for any SAP email. These typically fall into 3 process scenarios:
- Process notifications
Internal or external notifications, either within a process or at the end of a process to notify a recipient that something has occurred, and/or that an action is required. These can be triggered in a number of ways, including SAP Workflow.
- Document output
Any SAP document output, such as order confirmations and customer statements. Data previously provided within PDF attachments can be included within the body of the email such that no attachment is necessary.
- Mass correspondence
Mass communication can be sent to recipient lists – groups of recipients inside or outside the organisation, such as suppliers, customers, project stakeholders or employees. Examples include changes to terms and conditions, newsletters and system-generated reports.
For organisations investing in UX improvements, e-mail generation is as relevant as data capture, retrieval and reporting. With Floe you can build professional and elegant e-mail communication for any SAP process. Find out more.